I don’t write about politics very often, but after watching the debate tonight, I was surprised that everybody handed the debate win to Romney. After I heard the rationale of the left-wing punditry of MSNBC, I found myself especially annoyed. The fact is, it’s a good thing they are talking about Obama’s campaign and not running it!
ED SCHULTZ AND CHRIS MATTHEWS — YOU JUST DON’T GET IT!
President Obama didn’t need to charge into the debate reckless, looking to absolutely dismantle Romney. Obama has a commanding lead. Romney had to go in and dismantle Obama. And I sure didn’t see Obama get dismantled!
MAYBE A SPORTS ANALOGY MIGHT HELP?
Imagine you’re in a 12-round boxing match. You’re fighting smart and are winning on points during the first 9 rounds. You don’t start suddenly throwing wild knockout blows in the tenth round!
Obama is firmly ahead on points if you haven’t noticed. By swinging too hard, he would open himself up to counter-attacks that could reverse everything and maybe hurt him for real. And if you fail to land big punches, it makes you look bad to the judges and the spectators.
Question: Did Romney land any significant punches on Obama?
Question: Did Obama land any significant punches on Romney?
Answer: He doesn’t have to!
Question: Did Romney detail any kind of vision that might win hearts and minds?
Question: Did Obama detail any kind of vision that might win hearts and minds?
Answer: He doesn’t have to!
Still unconvinced? I am going to break it down for you:
1) CONSISTENCY GOES TO OBAMA:
Obama came out and made statements that are virtually identical to the statements he has been campaigning on. This shuts down future attacks on Obama’s credibility and/or belief in his vision by the Romney campaign.
Romney on the other hand simply contradicted all of his entire campaign rhetoric from the primaries up until about 5 days ago, when Romney went into etch-a-sketch mode.
Now Romney says he wants to do some of the same things that Obama did with healthcare, but he did not explain how. Previously Romney wanted to repeal all of it. Now it is up to the media and the Obama campaign to squeeze him for details.
Romney’s new tax plan stands in contrast to his plan as previously analyzed by non-partisan economists. Don’t you think the Sunday morning shows will demand the details from Romney?
Romney cannot refuse to provide any details to the media for the next two months or in the next two presidential debates. And I think that the pundit class may have missed that Obama did state that Romney’s new tax plan has nothing to do with the one Romney has been running on for the past 18 months.
Obama won’t stand on stage and aggressively call Romney a liar! Why can’t the pundits understand that? Obama cannot allow himself to be depicted as an angry or aggressive man. That would tarnish the calm and warm image of Obama that have been a huge part of his political ascent.
2) OBAMA SPOKE TO HIS STRENGTHS, CONTRASTING HE AND ROMNEY FOR HIS NEWEST SUPPORTERS
Obama shored up his lead in swing states like Ohio and Michigan by reminding people of the auto bailout.
And Obama also played to his new-found popularity with seniors and working-class white women by explaining the virtues of “ObamaCare”, and by cornering Romney into owning “VoucherCare”.
Obama also pointed out that by necessity Romney’s tax plan must cut social services that are essential and important to seniors and working-class Moms.
It’s all about targeting.
3) ROMNEY NOW HAS TO DEFEND HIMSELF ON TWO FRONTS
Why does the media have such a short memory? Don’t you recall the fact-check debacle from the Republican convention?
Romney’s split personality was on full display during the first debate. By contradicting all of his campaign rhetoric he used to ingratiate himself to the Republican base, he now almost has to decide if he will publicly be “debate Romney”, or “pre-debate Romney” for the next 5 weeks.
But I did write: “almost decide”. We have all come to understand that Romney always reflects the point of view of the crowd he is in front of. So he will almost certainly revert to “pre-debate Romney” at certain stops on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, do you think the Obama campaign team won’t run ads exposing Romney’s contradictions, especially in swing states?
Romney has cornered himself.
BONUS POINTS TO ROMNEY BECAUSE HE DIDN’T LOSE FACE ON LIVE TV:
In an intelligent move, Romney changed his message to appeal to the debate audience. By doing that he theoretically kept himself in the game.
But what happens when the Obama team starts juxtaposing “debate Romney” with “pre-debate Romney”?
This is the “flip-flopper card”, and the Obama team hasn’t really played it yet. But there are three more debates and a lot of campaigning left to do.
The Obama campaign is incredibly disciplined and will stick to their plan.
A MESSAGE TO MSNBC DEBATE ANALYSTS: GET YOUR STUFF TOGETHER!
I like Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz, but their hand-wringing after the debate aggravated me. It appeared that only Al Sharpton understood what Romney did to himself by doing a complete about-face at this point.
This is why liberals lose so often! Because they don’t understand when they are winning. In Chris’ and Ed’s fantasies, Obama would come and ferociously tear into Romney.
I remember a year ago Chris Matthews wanted Obama to let loose and shoot down specious attacks made on him during the Republican primary. But that would have left Obama with fewer arrows in his quiver for the long haul. Obama doesn’t pig out.
This past May, Ed Schultz wanted Obama in Wisconsin attaching his visage to an almost-certain loss to the recall election of Scott Walker. That would have been a mistake in two ways, attaching Obama to a big loss in the national eye, and possibly hurting his popularity in Wisconsin, a state that Obama has had a healthy lead in.
Ed and Chris: Please calm down. Obama is thinking three steps ahead of you, at least! Over a year ago, Democrats everywhere thought Obama had lost the debt-ceiling fiasco. Now it is a political baseball bat and Obama is on deck.
I LEAVE YOU WITH ANOTHER SPORTS ANALOGY:
When you have a strong lead late in the fourth quarter, you manage the clock, and let your opponent shoot the wild three pointers. Obama’s plan is to shoot layups, or force Romney to foul so he can shoot free throws while the clock runs out. But if Romney turns the ball over…OBAMA WILL DUNK!
~ Kenneth Fisher
P.S. Please, for the love of all that is holy, never have the families of the opponents greet each other on the debate stage ever again. Whose stupid idea was that?